Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Word Is Yes: #127 - Evensong

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    The Word Is Yes: #127 - Evensong

    From Union, 1991

    This song's pretty short, so I'll try to keep this review short. Evensong, the penultimate song on Union, is a barebones track - but that's by design. It dates back to before the Union project - before ABWH's planned second album, even. The track, while it seems to be performed in a studio, was based on a drum-and-bass duet Tony Levin and Bill Bruford would do during the ABWH live shows - thus it features only those two. This makes it the only Yes song to be co-written by Tony Levin. Actually, hang on a moment. A recording based on a live improvisation featuring Tony Levin and Bill Bruford? Are we sure we're not listening to King Crimson here?

    All joking aside, one would probably expect such a short song to be much lower on my list. Heck, it's one of Yes' shortest songs, being one of only two to clock in at less than a minute. But like its even shorter brother Five Per Cent For Nothing (which was also written by Bruford, go figure), I think it uses all the time it needs - and effectively, too. I wouldn't even say it needs all that much time to itself. It only has two instruments, after all! The chapman stick and the lofi, almost tribal electronic drum sounds combine very well in this case - and the way their rhythms reverberate off each other creates an incredibly cool effect.

    Bill:
    It was me and Tony, we put that song together. It was very loose. We had a duet on the ABWH tour and that was the middle section of the duet. He played something and I played something immediately and we called it "Evensong" and split the publishing. It didn't take long to do.
    For those not in the know - and I wasn't for a while - the term Evensong refers to an evening prayer-song service held in some churches. I've listened to a few Evensong… songs, and they certainly fit the description the song Evensong provides. They're relaxing, comforting - and dare I say it, pastoral. Something I always try to applaud in a song is the ability to create a good atmosphere - and here, Mr. Levin and Mr. Bruford have done it with little more than an electronic drumkit and a stick. You wouldn't expect either of these instruments to be able to create the mood of a church, yet here they are. Bravo, rhythm section!

    But really, the reason this song is up so high is because I've always seen it as an opening to Take The Water To The Mountain - which, as you'll notice, is a bit higher up on the list than Evensong. The first time I listened to the album, I didn't even notice the transition between the two - but indeed, they're two separate songs. Coupled with Holding On, which also transitions well into Evensong, this makes the finale of Union 3 songs long - a trick Yes would later pull off on Magnification. And a good thing they did - it's one of the most brilliant things I've seen in album composition! Who says the finale only has to be one song? They've made it two songs before with Mood For A Day and Heart Of The Sunrise, why not make it 3? Sadly, the effect was squandered a bit in the final edit, but… we'll get to THAT mess when we get to it.

    And hey, who says a transitional track can't be considered good? Just because it's less than a minute long doesn't detract from its quality! I say this song is a solid addition to the Yes catalogue, and just as good as its brothers on Union… as long as you're listening to the full album. You could definitely put it on a playlist, but I wouldn't listen to it on its own is all I'm saying. Even(song) still, it's a good track - and definitely a good one to fall asleep to.

    Yessources:
    1. Yes Stories: Yes In Their Own Words, Tim Morse

    I figured I’d get something up for the year anniversary of The Word Is Yes. 80 or so pages of Yes reviews isn’t so bad for a year, eh? Still, even if I didn’t get it all done in a year, I’m glad you all have continued to read my reviews for this long. Thank you.

    #2
    #79 reaction to SKD opinion:

    A curio. Mercifully short.

    1 star.

    Comment


      #3
      I like the track and wish it were slightly longer. But it almost does belong on a King crimson album. And there is another duo track similar to Evensong on tony Levin's first solo album World Diary, again featuring Levin on stick and Bruford on Simmons electronic drums. It's called Etude in the Key Of Guildford, and could have been from the same sessions as Evensong for all I know - the liner notes don't specify. Union is a better album than a lot give it credit for.

      Comment


        #4
        very nice ambient track on an underrated album
        The Definitive YES Albums

        -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
        -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
        -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

        Comment


          #5
          It was in my collection for a while. Then I realized I didn’t like it.

          Comment


            #6
            Oh hey, this is great, glad to see you are continuing your endless trek through the entire song catalogue.....is there a complete list of your picks so far available on here somewhere ? Although I'm a tireless defender of Union, this one does not rank very high on my list of "Best YES songs under 2 minutes" !
            Last edited by carlmarx38; 01-19-2022, 09:25 AM.

            Comment


              #7
              I think it's pretty and have always wished it was just a bit longer.
              Rabin-esque
              my labor of love (and obsessive research)
              rabinesque.blogspot.com

              Comment


                #8
                Does anyone know if Skankindead's list of #126 - ? is available anywhere, I'm assuming that all the threads from the old Yesfans are gone forever ?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Think he said it's on reddit.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Gilly Goodness View Post
                    Think he said it's on reddit.
                    Yep, just found it : https://www.reddit.com/user/Skankindead/posts/

                    (read it and weep)
                    Last edited by carlmarx38; 01-20-2022, 05:12 AM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by carlmarx38 View Post

                      Yep, just found it : https://www.reddit.com/user/Skankindead/posts/

                      (read it and weep)

                      For a contrast, the Ultimate Classic Rock (UCR) website did exactly the same thing :


                      https://ultimateclassicrock.com/yes-songs-ranked/


                      IMO, both lists more or less Butcher the entire canon......here's an example, what the UCR site says about "I Am Waiting" (one of my favorite songs from TALK) .......

                      " 175. "I Am Waiting" (from 1994's Talk)

                      Outside of a Dire Straits-y slide guitar lead, “I Am Waiting” is seriously soulless. The less said, the better.

                      Last edited by carlmarx38; 01-20-2022, 05:13 AM.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by carlmarx38 View Post

                        Outside of a Dire Straits-y slide guitar lead, “I Am Waiting” is seriously soulless. The less said, the better.
                        Can’t say I disagree a lot with that...

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Ceasar’s Palace View Post
                          Can’t say I disagree a lot with that...
                          OK, you're entitled to your opinion. But I think you'll be surprised to see how many YESfans agree it's one of the best songs on TALK (as evidenced by its inclusion on the second ARW Tour, although I've heard they didn't pull it off Live with the ARW band as well as they had on the original Talk album and tour).

                          How about this one :


                          179. "Saving My Heart" (from 1991's Union)

                          Lifeless reggae-pop. With all the obvious talent on-hand during the Union sessions (Anderson, Howe, Rick Wakeman, Bill Bruford, Alan White, Trevor Rabin, Tony Kaye, and an army of producers and session players), this is the best they could scrape together?

                          (ouch!)
                          Last edited by carlmarx38; 01-20-2022, 07:44 AM.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            It's only opinions, nobody's going to hurt my feelings if they don't like YesWest.

                            And I honestly believe the true reason "I Am Waiting" was included on the last ARW tour was because Jon really wanted to sing it again, not because they perceived it as a fan favorite. IIRC there tends to be a lot of "I really hate that dissonant bridge" discourse when it comes to that song.
                            Rabin-esque
                            my labor of love (and obsessive research)
                            rabinesque.blogspot.com

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I've always liked this song, and wished there were more like it. For one thing, it adds pacing to an otherwise pretty jumbled album. For another, Bill and Tony have always had a wonderful chemistry, and hearing them duet is always a pleasure. For yet another, it hints at a way forward (sadly not taken): the way for eight members to play together, is to not be on every song at the same time. A bit like the later frakctalization of King Crimson, it's a "let's get together and see what happens" kind of moment, and recaptures some of the "solo" pieces from Fragile and their magic: if you need a bassist, there is one, but if not, then not. Anyways, a small gem on the album.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X